Rice imports hit 2.28 MMT as of late June

THE PHILIPPINES imported 2.28 million metric tons (MMT) of rice as of June 20, running ahead of the first half 2023 pace by 22.6%, according to the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).

The Philippines imports about 20% of its rice requirement amid insufficient domestic production, but also to tame high rice prices.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. signed Executive Order No. 62, which reduced rice tariffs to 15% until 2028, as an inflation-containment measure. The new tariff regime is subject to review every four months.

The BPI said Vietnam remained the top supplier of rice as of late June, accounting for 73.2% of all imports in the year to date.

In January, the Philippines and Vietnam signed an agreement giving the Philippines a quota of 1.5 million MT to 2 million MT of rice annually for five years.

Thailand supplied 348,171.74 MT during the period, or 15.3% of the total, followed by Pakistan with 151,318.86 MT, or 6.6%.

Rounding out the top five were Myanmar and India which shipped 66,120 MT and 21,169 MT of rice, respectively.

The US Department of Agriculture projects Philippine rice imports of 4.6 MMT this year, upgrading its estimates from 3.9 MMT previously, citing high demand and the lowered tariffs.

The Department of Agriculture is projecting rice imports of 3.9 MMT this year. — Adrian H. Halili